Car shopping with .bat

26 May

I’ve been test driving some cars and seriously looking for new ones. We stopped at a Ford dealer but wasn’t really impressed with the Fusion. After that, I drove a couple VW Jettas and it was a great ride. has a great search tool but what really got the attention of my local dealership sales person was when I showed him the price for a similar Jetta that was quite a bit cheaper and had less miles from an actual dealership. Salespeople aren’t too impressed with results from AutoTrader so I was looking for cars on a dealers lot.

What most car manufactures do is create a template website with inventory search capabilities. Then each dealership has an easy task of making their own site from that template. I get a map with all the dealerships in america when I go to:

I was clicking each dealership and opening it in a new tab and checking prices. After doing this and realizing how inefficient it was I started putting my web development experience to good use. It was painfully easy to recognize all of my search parameters were in the address bar.

Problem was each dealer had its own domain name. Also, the HTML that came back would be difficult to parse. With a .bat file I could start each page with my HTTP search params. So I collected all of the dealerships I was interested in and lined up the commands.

start "vw1" ""
start "vw2" ""
start "vw5" ""

The first attempt failed because chrome couldn’t keep up so I added a quick ping in between each command.

start "vw1" ""
ping -n 1
start "vw2" ""
ping -n 1
start "vw3" ""
ping -n 1
start "vw4" ""

What I end up with is chrome open with tabs of all the cars I am interested in. I’d like to parse the HTML and save the results so I can be notified of changes, but that would take too long (lazy).

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Posted by on May 26, 2011 in Uncategorized


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